A series of glass archways over pathways, surrounded by a field of wildflowers, will be built on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin as a memorial to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.
The successful design is ‘Transparency and Truth’ by architects Jessica Spresser and Peter Besley – both of whom were recently selected to design a new Pier Pavilion on Sydney Harbour.
Its glass archways are intended to signify strength, fragility and resilience.
The architects said the design seeks to balance an acknowledgement of strength and vitality with a recognition of trauma and loss.
“The individual pieces of cast glass carry immense loads yet together create forms of exceptional grace and lightness, representing both fragility and great resilience,” they said.
The national memorial was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Construction on the $6.7 million project, located on the Acton Peninsula near the National Museum of Australia, will begin later this year now the Canberra National Memorials Committee has approved the design.
The winning design was selected by a nine-person jury comprising four people with lived experience and five design industry experts. It was chaired by Peter McClellan QC, chief royal commissioner of the royal commission.
Mr McCellan said he was pleased the representatives of victims and survivors of abuse who were members of the jury had warmly endorsed the design.
“The National Memorial will provide both a beautiful place for quiet reflection and an opportunity for deepening community understanding of the tragic consequences of abuse,” he said.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston welcomed the outcome of the selection process and said she was pleased to share the memorial’s design with victims and survivors, their families, supporters and the greater community.
She said she recognised the memorial as a pivotal step towards healing for so many.
“The National Memorial will stand as a place of truth and reflection for people with lived experience and their families and supporters, as well as an enduring reminder of the responsibility to create a safer world for our children,” Ms Ruston said.
The royal commission handed down its final report -which made a total of 189 recommendations – in December 2017.
The Federal Government committed funding for the project in October last year.
The NCA is overseeing the design and construction of the memorial on behalf of the Department of Social Services (DSS), which is responsible for delivering the government’s commitment in response to the recommendation of the Royal Commission.